The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 27: A Note from the Editors

There is an extensive gap in our knowledge and the information we were able to gather at this point. However, using context cluse, we pieced together a rough timeline of what happened over the course of the second month of the investigation.

1. A man by the name of Boris Zhaven confessed to providing false information. His reason for doing so is unknown.

2. Lord Eskyil is removed from his position as advisor to the King. However, he remains on castle grounds in isolation.

3. A battle on the border of Tokavsk and Arkia results in heavy Tokavskan losses.

4. A small fire destroys part of the records pertaining to the investigation. The fire is put out quickly and no one is injured.

The final event is the most important, as it hampered both the investigation and our work. However, we believe we have sufficiently accounted for that gap through independent research as part of the agreement we have with Tokavsk and Your Majesty. The next few parts contain information we acquired directly with the help of an interpreter, and while we acknowledge that the verity of what we were told is uncertain, the conclusion reached at the end of our time in Tokavsk supports the facts we were given. Additionally, we dealt with the individual who attempted to interfere with our work and adjusted our report accordingly. We have drafted a shorter report on that matter than need not be mentioned here again.

The Kingdom of Tokavask, Session 24: A Diary Entry from Lord Azhan, Advisor to the King

It all burns this wick. Waiting for an answer and finding none, seeking an escape and discovering nothing. A long, lonely road of emptiness and guilt. I didn’t do anything, don’t know who did. They asked me what my impression of Lord Eskyil was, and I said he was a great advisor whom I admired.

What I said was wrong.

Tashka said there was no way he was asleep that night. He can feel it in his bones when a turn for the negative is inevitable. He would have been awake grimacing and rubbing his knees. Tashka also said she went to check on him as per her duties and he wasn’t there. Elshir said something similar. The Lord could not have been caught unawares.

I do not know what to believe. One of our own could have killed Lord –. It would be treasonous to think in hypotheticals, but the mind cannot help but wonder. After all, we were made to contemplate the world. I know I have brushed hands with the one who did this, have settled my gaze on their guilty form. I know there is no gain in wondering who it is. When the time is right, the evildoer will be made known. And I will no longer have to hide what I saw.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 23: An Entry from the Diary Lord Eskyil

They treated me as though I was a dead ennet or a commoner demanding funds. To accuse me of something so preposterous should be grounds for immediate removal, seeing as I am protected by the King and am His closest ally. The audacity of that captain makes my fingers blacken just writing about it. Those sharp eyes could cut the hardest of gems. A meaty, swollen brute of a man was he, absolutely violating the integrity of my position and the Crown. To accuse me is one step away from accusing the King Himself, treason so great its punishment is not banishment but death. He would be better scraping ice off the hulls of ships or making furbrushes. Someone as hard and cruel as he should not have access to such power. He and his filthy little minions surrounded me, bombarded me with questions, asked how much I knew about the death of Lord [name stricken]. I was afraid, and in my confusion I may have had a minor slip once or thrice. Even greatness is occasionally bound to err. I will not deny that I did not know how to react in such a situation, but I postulate hardly anyone would were they not expecting it. I anticipated the questions about my personal relationship to Lord –, but I never even in fits of ague imagined that I could be so much as suspected of such a thing. How hard I have worked to achieve my position, and they dare challenge me? I shall inform the King of this transgression first thing in the morning. I doubt He will approve of His trusted advisor being besmirched.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 22: A Body Language Report of Chief Advisor Lord Eskyil

Editors’ Note: Due to extenuating circumstances, we could not acquire records of the Chief Advisor’s interrogation with Captain Lukin other than the report of his body language throughout the process. Tokavskan legal interviews such as this one commonly have scribes whose only job is to record someone’s mannerisms, which are later reviewed alongside the recorded responses to determine character and dishonesty.

The King’s chief advisor, Lord Eskyil, appears perturbed as Lukin speaks to him. He tugs at the golden band round his wrist denoting him as Chief Advisor, and his eyes, unusually dark for a Tokavskan, dart back and forth. He jumps when Lukin asks him of his whereabouts at the time of the murder, and his words come out rushed and oddly pitched. He answers the question without any other hesitation. His distress continues for the next few questions, but to a lesser degree. He wrings his hands when explaining his nighttime routine. Upon being prompted to describe how he found out about the murder, his voice becomes tight and he holds perfectly still. He speaks in tentative sentences with no more pausing than expected. Lord Eskyil is more skittish after he has explained his initial reaction. He lets out a deep breath upon finishing his remark.

When asked if he has seen any suspicious activity, he replies that he has not in the same tentative voice. His posture, facial expression, and tone remain the same for the following questions. His eyes dart once or twice, but other than that there is no notable shift in his body language.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 21: A Hastily Scrawled Entry from Tomon’s Servant

Editors’ Note:  This entry was written by the same servant of Tomon who wrote the to-do list.  The handwriting is sprawling and very distinctive, and we find it hard to believe it could be replicated.

Tomon’s meetings were canceled today, and now I don’t know what to do with myself.  Tomon doesn’t, either.  I’m writing this while he isn’t looking, but even if he does see me I don’t think he’ll do anything.  He’s relaxing in his chambers and not doing much at all, going through papers, I think.  Anyway, he has expressed interest in taking a walk around the grounds.  I hope we can go this afternoon because my legs are shaking so badly from nervous energy.  I’ve heard rumors that something happened, that somebody was killed.  Some high-up of the king here.  We are forbidden from discussing it while working, which makes me feel even worse because I feel I have to talk about it or something in me will burst.  So I’m writing it here.  I heard this morning that somebody was murdered on the grounds, and now everybody is wondering who did it.  I think it was somebody who was an opponent of the guy or a person who wanted his job.  Maybe a hire since people that high don’t always do those types of things themselves.  Not that the upper classes are weak, of course.  Just that they can pay someone else to do those kinds of things for them, I would pay someone to carry out a murder if I had someone to murder and the money to pay.  I would never commit murder, but if for some reason I felt the need, I’d probably do it myself.

My favorite theory is that an opponent did it because I think that sounds the most interesting.  Maybe he disagreed with a guy on something, so that guy decided he needed to go.  Of course I can only imagine what that kind of disagreement would be.  I don’t really know much about how kings work, so it could be anything, really.  Maybe somebody wants a coup.  But if they wanted to take over, wouldn’t they have gone for the king first?  Unless it was a practice kill, which doesn’t make sense if you think about it.  That just makes you more likely to get caught.

The Classic Mystery Storyline

I don’t know about you, but I love mysteries. Maybe it’s my inner boxcar kid or my desire to be Sherlock Holmes/Nancy Drew, but ever since I was a little kid, reading mystery stories, watching suspenseful films, and using my wild imagination, have always been my favorite pastimes to get that chilling thrill. For me, it started off with the cheesy Scooby-Doo-esque reads you’d pick up in elementary school, with plotlines of kidnappings and killings, leading us through a web of adventures to only find out that there was no kidnapping or killing at all. Then it moved up a notch into horror territory. Off-the-wall, dramatized stories of monsters looking to wreak havoc on the innocent. Now, I’m a faithful crime-tv watcher. It has the same elements found in the mysteries of my previous years, but a toned-down nature that is both heart-wrenching and relatable.

Anyway, as I delved into some great Lifetime movies this weekend, mystery and drama-filled of course, I got to thinking about the classic mystery storyline that has been recycled year in and year out since the beginning of time. There’s always these elements that make a mystery a mystery, and even though we know what will probably happen (granted, there are some plot twists), we can’t stop watching them because they’re so enticing!

What makes up the classic mystery storyline? What are its potions that make it the perfect recipe for suspense and awe? Well, let’s try and figure this out.

Step 1: Make Life Seem as Perfect as Can Be

Do you ever notice that in mystery plots, its almost always a cookie-cutter, all-is-well ambiance to start it off? The main characters are going about their day-to-day activities in blind contentment. Skipping, jogging, cooking, laughing..basically life is great, and they’re about to get a rude awakening and everybody knows it.

Step 2: The “Dun Dun Duuuuun” Moment

It happens. The murder, kidnapping, missing-person, monster, stalker, killer, whoever and whatever it is, occurs. It makes us gasp. It makes our wheels get to turning in our heads. It is the moment whether you decide to commit to this plotline and invest your emotions or drop it and go do something happy with your life.  If it’s a good “dun dun duuuun” moment, you will commit.

Step 3: The Mess and Stress Stage

All the action a.k.a the mess goes down. The adventure of figuring out who did what, why they did it, and what’s going to happen next, becomes the main objective. And, of course, there’s tons of stress amongst the characters, which in turn, stresses the reader/viewer out (me).

Step 4: The Gasp…”I would’ve Gotten Away With It If It Weren’t For You Darn Kids…” Stage

We finally come to put all of the pieces of the mystery together and find out who did it and for what reason. By far the best stage, but if it is not done right, things could go very wrong and all of that hard work could be worthless.

Every mystery follows this pattern. Some worse and some better than others. Although, I love a good mystery with this classic storyline, I can’t help but desire a little change and a real shock factor within the genre. The repetition of this storyline sometimes makes the exciting genre…yawn-worthy. I urge those mystery-lovers and creators out there to break out of the box that has been established for so long. Surprise us, shock us, make us scream!